KILIFI, Kenya, Jul 3 – Kilifi County livestock farmers are set to benefit from Sh70 million in funding, following a joint partnership between the KCB Foundation and Kilifi County Government that seeks to commercialise the sector.

The joint partnership is part of the Mifugo ni Mali livestock project, which the foundation has been implementing to empower farmers from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) reap maximum returns from their produce.

As part of the partnership, the KCB Foundation has invested Sh30 million to support the project while the balance will be contributed by the Kilifi County Government.

Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding in Kilifi on Thursday, KCB Foundation Chairman Catherine Kola emphasised that the partnership will boost the livestock sector by empowering livestock farmers with skills and knowledge on best farm practices such as value addition and increasing their market power.

“We will work with Kilifi livestock cooperatives to improve livestock productivity, breeding, nutrition, disease management, business development and market access initiatives for livestock keepers in dairy, meat and fish value chains,” added Kola.

Other counties which have previously benefited from this project are Baringo, Narok, Kwale, Mombasa and Taita Taveta.

During the first phase of the project, livestock farmers will receive demonstrative training on ideal livestock farming methods especially on fish production, value addition techniques and how to improve market access. In addition, throughout this phase, farmers will be encouraged to join cooperatives so as to reap enormous benefits such as collective bargaining power for market prices and lower costs of production in differentiation of products.

The second phase will involve provision of a wide range of financial loans to farmers who want to upscale their livestock farming. However, the loans will only be availed to farmers who are members of farmer-led cooperatives.

The initiative is expected to empower livestock farmers to sell their livestock at the right time; bring them together in marketing cooperatives to supply to the export licensed abattoirs; to establish local market potential for quality differentiation and to increase productivity hence value for money.

Kilifi County Governor Amason Kingi expressed confidence in the livestock programme, stating that it will transform the livestock sector – the second income generating sector within Kilifi County – to growth, competitiveness and sustainability.

He noted that the Mifugo ni Mali livestock programme will provide a boost to the county’s’ economy especially at a time when the tourism sector performance is on a decline.